In an article recently published by the Arizona Republic, it is estimated that nearly one-quarter of all Arizona adults are classified as obese. That is a startling statistic, one which points to the fact that adults – and likely any children who live with them—are not following the MyPyramid guidelines issued by the federal government.
A study released by the Journal of Nutrition noted that: “More than 80% of people age 71 or younger and more than 90% of all other sex-age groups had intakes of empty calories that exceeded the discretionary calorie allowances. The majority of the population failed to meet recommendations for all of the nutrient-rich food groups, except total grains and meat and beans.”
Is your family following MyPyramid, which is basically a healthy diet? With trying to juggle work and family obligations, sometimes it’s hard to fit healthy eating into the mix. Here are three tips to remember when it comes to daily meal planning:
- Choose a diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
- Include lean meats, fish, beans, eggs, poultry and nuts
- Make certain your diet is low in saturated fats, trans fats, salt, added sugar and cholesterol
Also, keep these tips in mind when it comes to deciding what to pick up when you’re at the grocery store or farmers market:
- Create a meal plan for the week that includes the fresh fruits and veggies prepared in a variety of ways to keep meals interesting. Planning for weekly meals rather than picking something up on your way home from work will help you better stick with a healthy eating plan
- Buy fruits and vegetables that are in season. You can find a multitude on our website at fillyourplate.org.
- While fresh is always best, if you have to purchase prepared vegetables either look for frozen or canned that has low, or no-, salt added
- Have fun in the kitchen. Experiment with your fruits and vegetables. Try them grilled rather than boiled, grill up fruits – you’ll be amazed at how grilling livens up the taste of most fruits and vegetables. You can find fun, easy and interesting recipes at www.fillyourplate.org
Try to fit in at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Why not grab a banana or some other hand-fruit for your morning commute if you don’t have time to sit down to breakfast? Cut some fruit up and put in your children’s morning cereal. Keep fresh cut vegetables available – put them in an easily accessible place right in the front of the refrigerator. Urge your children to grab a handful for an afterschool treat and “train” yourself to reach for fruits and vegetables rather than chips or cookies. Make certain you serve at least one vegetable or fruit side dish with meals and before-bedtime snacks.
It will likely take some time and involve pre-planning to start eating healthy but it will be well worth it in the long run when it comes to staying healthy, and teaching your children healthy eating by example.